While the defense attorneys at the heart of Steven Avery’s 2006 trial continue to receive the adoration and infatuation of internet users around the world, prosecutors and police involved in the Making A Murderer case are faring less well.
Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz is now constantly bombarded with emails saying, “Ken, you’re a piece of sh*t.” A recent article by The Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter revealed the name of the town where Manitowoc County Sheriff’s detective James Lenk retired, and now he’s getting harassed, as well.
The perceived doxing of Lenk didn’t sit well with his buddy, Manitowoc County sergeant Andrew Colborn, who wrote the Herald Times Reporter an angry letter (without a return address attached, I assume):
I hope you are proud of the fact that you felt it was necessary to publish private information about Mr. Lenk’s residence, as he is now a citizen in poor health trying to live a quiet life away from this media circus. You should be ashamed of yourself. You know all these allegations against Mr. Lenk, myself and our agency are totally false, yet you continue to support these lies and exacerbate the problems they cause.
Try and imagine if something serious happens to one of us or to a member of our families because of all the completely distorted and slanted information that is being published by subjects like yourself. Your lack of responsibility and your bias is appalling. I know the truth doesn’t sell newspapers as much as lies and controversy, but for once try thinking about the consequences of the slander and defamation that you are authoring and participating in.
A word of caution, be careful what you wish for. If Steven Avery is ever freed, he may just become your neighbor, and he may want to bring his nephew with him.
First, there’s small chance Avery would become anyone’s neighbor unless that person already lives next to the Avery Salvage Yard. Second, the people who are arguing loudly for Steven’s release wouldn’t have an issue with him living next door because they obviously don’t think he’s guilty of anything … although they might change their mind once he starts burning trash on a weekly basis.
Colborn does have a point, though, about singling out where controversial people from the documentary now live. There are undoubtedly hundreds of James Lenks spread out all across America, and that lowered the chances that any of them would have to deal with any serious harassment on account of misdeeds real or implied that were featured in Making A Murderer. But after this Manitowoc Herald Times article, the singular James Lenk from the documentary is a mere google away.
As guilty as the documentary made Lenk seem of planting evidence against Steven Avery (specifically the RAV4 key found in his house and the bullet with Teresa Halbach’s DNA in his garage), internet mob justice isn’t the solution. And the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter didn’t just list which state Lenk lived in, they mentioned the name of the town and the specific type of neighborhood.
From there, all it takes is one crazy person with a vigilante streak to turn our hopes of justice for Steven Avery into a f*cked up revenge story with an even darker ending. So, in short, let’s concentrate our efforts on getting appeals for Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey instead. And hope the worst thing James Lenk gets out of this is a giant pile of sex toys and lube mailed to his house.